The Quality Management System was the combination of the department's approved policies, processes and procedures used for planning, developing, and delivering its services. This system had been implemented to ensure that the department mitigated the risk of not meeting the expectations of all stakeholders.
The department had successfully maintained certification of the Quality Management System to the international Quality Management System Standard (AS/NZS ISO 9001:2000) since 1998. This certification was maintained to publicly demonstrate the department's commitment to providing efficient service delivery processes and quality service to all clients and tenants.
A surveillance audit was conducted on the department's Quality Management System in December 2008 by an external auditor. The auditor reported that there were no corrective actions necessary, and confirmed that the department's systems and processes continued to meet the necessary criteria for retaining certification to the international standards. The next surveillance audit is scheduled for November 2009.
A third party assessment of procurement capability and performance was undertaken between 1 July 2008 and 31 March 2009. The purpose of the assessment was to identify and quantify where procurement practices are efficient and effective in delivering value for money, as well as to identify opportunities for improvement. The overall benchmarking results for the department indicated very good levels of capability and performance across all dimensions of the procurement profile, particularly in relation to strategy, people and culture, business systems and performance management.
The Department of Housing achieved a new benchmark against 'Best in Public Sector Globally' in three of the six dimensions, these being 'Strategy', 'People and Culture' and 'Performance Management' and equalled the benchmark on a fourth dimension 'Business Systems', when compared to Best in Public Sector Globally. This was an excellent result and the best in the Queensland Public Sector at that time.
The quality management system was built around a process approach to managing and improving service delivery. This approach recognised that effective service delivery involved a complex sequence of interrelated procedures that increasingly cross service area boundaries. These procedures combined seamlessly to ensure the end-to-end processes were efficient, effective and met client expectations.
All staff were encouraged to consider their work area and daily work practices, and to identify opportunities for improvement. A department–wide Innovation and Improvement Register (IIR) was maintained for recording any improvement suggestions including the findings from systems appraisals. These suggestions and all associated decisions and corrective actions were reviewed by senior management. Progress reports on activity within the IIR were provided to the Governance Board of Management Committee on a quarterly basis.
The department conducted a three–year rolling program of systems appraisals of all processes. Each appraisal assessed the risk inherent in delivering services or in conducting support functions. It was this level of risk which determined the frequency of assessment across the three–year plan.
A Quality and Environmental Management Systems Network met on a regular basis to discuss issues such as progress on system appraisals, audit findings, corrective actions, training needs, and to share knowledge and experiences relating to quality and environmental management.
A comprehensive, integrated Planning and Performance Framework was maintained by the department to direct all planning activities, resource decisions, and reporting requirements across the department. This framework provided a top-down hierarchy of plans, with each informing and directing plans at the next level below.
At the top of the hierarchy, the Strategic Plan set the long–term direction for the department, aligned with the Queensland Government ambitions. At the next level, the Operational Plan was a key document for the department's Board of Management as it outlined the major initiatives and deliverables of the year and included measures to indicate how well the department was performing.
Subsidiary plans, such as service area business plans and corporate support plans, either expanded on the goals and initiatives in the Strategic and Operational Plans or coordinated the essential supporting functions necessary for realising these goals and initiatives.
A key aspect of the department's risk management system was the integration of risk management into the Planning and Performance Framework. Risk assessments were undertaken for all planned initiatives and management decision–making processes at all levels and were recorded in the department's Risk Register. Regular reports from the Risk Register allowed the Board of Management to monitor the department's risk profile and review all risks rated high and extreme for appropriateness and progress of risk mitigation activities. The department's risk management system complied with the Australian Standard for Risk Management (AS/NZS 4360:2004).
The department maintained a performance management system to direct and coordinate performance reporting to the Governance Board of Management Committee. The performance management system:
- translated the department's vision into clear measurable outcomes that define success, were shared throughout the agency, and were shared with clients and key stakeholders
- included measures of quality, cost, timeliness, client satisfaction, employee alignment, motivation, skills and risk profile to provide an in-depth understanding of the department.
Reports were prepared against the Operational Plan on a quarterly basis and financial and non-financial management information from all areas of the department was reported on a monthly basis. Financial and operational performance reports were provided annually to Queensland Treasury and the Australian Government.
A National Performance Indicator Framework benchmarked the department's performance against other states and territories, based on effectiveness and efficiency measures. The results were published annually in the Report on Government Services and are available by visiting http://www.pc.gov.au/gsp/reports/rogs.
The performance of departmental staff, including managers and Board of Management members, was linked to corporate values, goals, and strategies through individual performance management plans. These enabled employees and teams to understand the goals of the organisation and how individual and team outputs contributed to the achievement of overarching organisational objectives and values.
The department's business continuity plans were developed using a risk management approach to allow the department to continue to provide essential services in the event that normal business operations were interrupted for any reason. The business continuity plans formed part of an overarching business continuity management framework which outlined:
- the various elements of the department's holistic approach to business continuity planning, including review and testing of these elements
- arrangements for managing internal interruptions
- the approach to minimising the impact of disruptions
- the roles and responsibilities within the department
- the department's contribution to external recovery activities.
The framework also established links with:
- the Queensland Disaster Management System
- whole–of–Government arrangements for coordinating public information in a crisis
- the Queensland Government Action Plan for Pandemic Influenza.